T for transport II.

16-10-2002

!!!NOTICE!!! In order to properly view letters from the Czech alphabet it is necessary to set your browser to Central European languages.

Last time we talked about city transportation - buses, trams and the metro and we also mentioned trains, which now substitute for the closed parts of Prague metro in some parts of the city. Just to recap: the word for train is vlak. The first railway on Czech territory was built in 1839, connecting the Austrian capital Vienna and the Moravian city of Brno. Of course, those first trains were drawn by steam engines - parní lokomotiva. Those days are over but if you are interested you can still take a ride in one of the historic trains because Czech Railways organise nostalgic rides around Prague for children and tourists. At a railway station - nádra¾í - you can choose which train suits you best. For short distances you may prefer a slow or stopping train - osobní vlak, in colloquial use osobák, but if you want to travel to a more distant place and get there fast, you'll choose a fast train - rychlík. Railways nowadays have some tough competition - coaches, as they are often faster and cheaper than trains. Czech uses the same word for both coaches and buses - autobus.

If you need to travel even further and even faster, you will opt for an airplane - letadlo. This Czech word comes from the verb létat - to fly. And so does the word leti¹tì, which means airport.

As a landlocked country with only a few dozen kilometres of navigable waterways, the Czech Republic hasn't really got much shipping traffic or lodní doprava to speak of. But anyway, the word for ship is loï. On the Vltava, there are a lot of cruising steamboats - parníky, very popular with foreign tourists.

We will close the programme with the most familiar of all means of transport - the car. Czech has no domestic word for the car, it borrowed the Greek-Latin hybrid automobil or automobile, known perhaps to most languages of the world. The word is usually used in its shortened form - auto. If you really like your cute little car you can use the affectionate diminutive - autíèko. Or, if you drive a big fancy car, you'll call it au»ák or bourák in slang.

That's it for today but we'll be back next week with the letter U and urban life. Bye-bye. Na shledanou.

16-10-2002